In July 2021, I will be recording Philippa Duke Schuyler’s piano work Seven Pillars of Wisdom, for future release with Centaur Records.

Philippa Schuyler, 1959. Photo by Fred Palumbo.

Schuyler was a mixed-race composer, pianist, and journalist whose works have not been recorded or published, in large part due to her early death in the Vietnam War. Written in 1964-65, Seven Pillars of Wisdom was performed by Schuyler during her lifetime, but the manuscript pages have remained scattered amongst archive boxes since her untimely death. I reassembled and transcribed the full work, using Schuyler’s combination of handwritten musical notation and performance instructions. Inspired by T.E. Lawrence’s book of the same title, this hourlong work includes a prologue, seven movements, and an extended epilogue. Perhaps also influenced by Schuyler’s experiences reporting on war crimes in the Congo, Seven Pillars explores challenging ideas about conflict, violence, and faith through interwoven themes spelled with her own musical alphabet. It is my hope that this recording will inspire a renewed interest in Schuyler’s life and music, which has been almost entirely unheard since her death in 1967.

Press coverage of the project: The State Newspaper.

A special thank you to all of the donors who are making this recording possible! We have currently raised $2724 of the $3500 cost of recording and distribution.

  • Jason Andrighetti
  • Garry Anthony
  • Frank Bernhardt
  • Peggy Chancellor
  • Sarah Creel
  • Jill Eaton
  • Patrick Hanudel
  • Olin Jenkins
  • Lewis Knudsen
  • Philip Lesh
  • Lanneau Lide
  • Keith Masterson
  • L. Morris
  • Jessie Smith
  • Brooke Tolbert
  • Jill Vandermeulen
  • Melody Whitworth
  • Geneva Wilkins

If you would be interested in becoming a donor, you can follow this fundraising link and select the project from the drop-down menu to contribute. Donors contributing $50 or more will receive a signed CD, once the album is complete (sometime in 2022). Donors contributing $100 or more will also be listed in the album’s liner notes. All donors of any amount will be acknowledged here.

Many thanks to Jaye Ingram for providing his services as recording engineer and to Shandon Presbyterian Church in Columbia, SC for allowing me to record on their Steinway piano.